KINGSTON – It's been well-known throughout sports that when a team heads into the playoffs on a roll that's when they have the most success.
If that saying remains true in the District 2 Class 3A boys soccer tournament, other teams better watch out for Wyoming Valley West.
The Spartans, who won six of their last eight games entering the postseason, remained hot on Thursday dominating North Pocono in the district quarterfinals at Spartan Stadium in a 2-0 win to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2009, which happens to be the last time the Spartans won a district championship.
The next game for Valley West will be on Tuesday against the winner of today's quarterfinal pitting Abington Heights against West Scranton. If the Comets win, Tuesday's game will be in Clarks Summit. A West Scranton win means the game will be in Kingston.
They're coming hard and they're working hard, said Spartan coach Charlie Whited, who won his first playoff game in his three years as mentor. We're really playing great right now. I don't think we can play any better than today. I thought we really played well and I think all around we played great.
The Valley West offense controlled the ball in North Pocono territory for more than half of the time and outshot the Trojans 26-4. Whited said according to his calculations, the Spartans had possession for 65 percent of the time. But his team didn't have anything to show for that in the first 70 minutes of the game.
Wyoming Valley West outshot the Trojans 13-1 in the first half. The Spartans, however, were held scoreless. The second half didn't fare much better for the first 30 minutes.
When the Spartans had chances, the shot was either blocked by a North Pocono defender or was inches away from striking the back of the net.
A sign that things were about to turn around for the Spartans was early in the second half when three of their first six shots either hit the crossbar or the post. They also had six corner kicks in the second half and came away empty on all of them. But they kept plugging away.
The pressure we were putting on them, it seemed like we would get one in the first half, Whited said. If we take enough shots eventually the ball will go in.
Finally with the clock reading 10:22, junior Nick Singer took a pass from Ryan Wisniewski and beat North Pocono keeper Riley Lougee for a 1-0 lead.
A little more than five minutes later, Singer was a big contributor again. This time, he slipped a pass to Eddie Thomas, who finished for a goal and a 2-0 advantage to seal the victory.
This is the most effort I've seen Nick put into a game, Whited complimented Singer. He really went after it today…Today, he showed he can really be a complete player.
|Wyoming Valley West||0||2||—||2|
Second half: 1. WVW, Nick Singer (Ryan Wisniewski) 10:22; 2. WVW, Eddie Thomas (Singer) 5:20
Shots: NP 4, WVW 26; Saves: NP 9 (Riley Lougee), WVW 3 (Logan Zavada); Corners: NP 0, WVW 7.
Pat Malone scored twice in the first half and the second-seeded Crusaders held off visiting Valley View in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Justin Okun added a goal and an assist for Coughlin while Steven Johnson made seven saves for the win.
Coughlin will host Tunkhannock or Scranton Prep in Tuesday's semifinals. The Tigers and Cavaliers play tonight at 5 at Dunmore H.S.
First half: 1. COU, Pat Malone, 13th minute; 2. COU, Malone (Justin Okun), 31st. Second half: 3. VV, Ryan Phomnath, 46th; 4. COU, Okun (Dave Marriggi), 68th
Shots: VV 8, COU 16; Saves: VV 13 (Mike Rotell), COU 7 (Steven Johnson); Corners: VV 2, COU 8.
Andriy Molchanov had two scores and one assist to lead Wyoming Seminary to a win over Forest City in the District 2 Class A quarterfinal.
Henry Cornell contributed with one goal and one assist.
Wyoming Seminary will face the winner of the Dunmore/Holy Cross match in Monday's semifinal. The winner of that quarterfinal from Thursday was unavailable.
First half: 1. SEM, Henry Cornell (Andriy Molchanov), 33:16; 2. SEM, Molchanov (Dylan Bassham), 27:50
Second half: 3. SEM, Molchanov (Sami El-Mashtoub, Cornell), 34:23; 4. SEM, Ander Gonzalez (Kristian Olsen), 16:10
Shots: FC 2, SEM 10; Saves: FC 6 (Matt Hardman-Zimmerman), SEM 2 (Riku Kaizaki); Corners: FC 5, SEM 1.